Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saving $

One of my favorite highlights from 2007 was learning how to make a kitchen/house budget and stick to it. Going into this new year, it was clear from the start that we would not have a lot of extra cash to work with and therefore not very much room for error. Here are some frugal tips that help me stay within my margin of $200.00 a month for a family of 5. Most of these things also keep us healthy, too. =)

Shopping in Mongolia is getting more and more difficult as the prices of some things have doubled and tripled in the past 6 months. I've been asking God for a raise... =)

  1. I pantry shop. I have a pantry and I'm not afraid to use it! In fact, now that I finally have a pantry, I don't think I could go back to not having one. Thanks to Sara and Twila, I have 2 shelves stocked with seasonings and cake decorating items from the US!
  2. In Mongolia, there are no grocery sales like in America. But we can and do save $ by buying in bulk (flour, rice, oil, toilet paper, etc)
  3. I never buy sweets for the kids. People give us candy and I just keep it on hand for very, VERY special occasions. Nate is prone to cavities and Abi could take it or leave it.
  4. We drink water so I very seldom buy juice and even more rare are sodas.
  5. In Mongolia, the 4 seasons are very marked and some things are less expensive in their corresponding seasons so I try to shop accordingly as much as possible. (Winter-apples and mandarins, Spring-milk products, Summer- berries, pine nuts, and Fall-root veggies)
  6. I use cloth diapers at home for Kenny and disposable only at night or when we have an outing. But sometimes I cheat when I need a break!
  7. Conditioner is expensive so I use only a tiny bit in a squirt bottle mixed with water. It works to detangle Abi's hair.
  8. I bake all our bread and snacks. With the exception of fish crackers for Kenny. He has to have his "shish cookoos"!
  9. We take vitamins and drink mineralized water. Saves $ in the long run by keeping us healthier.
  10. I use vinegar for cleaning. It's cheaper and a bit safer than clorox.
That's all for now. I'll post more on this subject throughout the next few weeks. I really need some inspiration in this area so please feel free to leave tips and advice in the comments section.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hello and Thank You!

I just wanted to say a quick, "hi" to my actual readers. I know it's more than 3; I was just being silly. I do get comments from time to time, from people I don't know (and people I do know) and I just wanted to take the time to say hello and thank you! It is encouraging to know that people find my blog interesting.

About the look-alike meters: I think it's funny that our children can look so Caucasian and Asian at the same time. Abi was very distressed that she looked more like her daddy than me. She pouted for the longest time over it. Nate was equally upset that he looked more like "a girl" than his daddy. Kenny was not bothered that he was right in the middle.

All for now. I'm off to make some French toast for lunch. Or are we calling it "freedom" toast now? I've been gone too long...

Jargalsaikhan Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Family tree - Genealogy - Celebrity - Collage - Morph

Jargalsaikhan Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebs - Collage - Morph

Jargalsaikhan Look-alike Meter

MyHeritage: Celebrity Collage - Family pics

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Family Picture

Here's the picture I tried unsuccessfully to upload with my Christmas post. Better late than never! This picture was not quite as formal as I would have hoped but I choose to remain optimistic... At least we're all in the picture and most of us are smiling.

Happy New Year!

Last night was new year's eve. We spent the evening with another couple, leaders from our church and their little boy. Around 9 pm we went to watch the fireworks. It was cold so we didn't stay out long. There was a guy with a camel there, giving people rides for about $.50. Abi, who loves all animals, big and small, begged for a ride right away, but Nate chickened out.

A firecracker went off just as Abi was getting settled on the camel's back and the camel shot up, scaring her a bit and freaking the living daylights out of me. Hetee got her down and we decided that letting our 3 year-old ride a camel in the dark, next to a busy street filled with cars and people shooting off fireworks, was prolly not a good idea after all.

Safe again, in mommy's arms, enjoying the fireworks

Then we came home and had buuz (beef dumplings), potato salad and fish. It was a nice and quiet time of fellowship.

I didn't make any new resolutions for this year because I had so many left over from last year, hehe. Here's a quick run-down:
  1. Wake up earlier in the am and have more God/me time before everyone wakes up
  2. Cut down computer time
  3. Get to bed by 11-ish every night
  4. Serve more balanced meals at home
  5. Be more patient with my children (and grown-ups who act like children)
  6. Drink less coffee
As far as work goes, this year I'll be more involved with our Praise and Worship vocalists and choir members than ever before. I'm really making the time for that because I think it's worth my time and effort. I'll also be doing all the pro-life stuff, like teaching and counseling that I've been doing. Here's to saving more babies in 2008!

I hope all my readers (yes, all 3 of you) have a wonderfully blessed new year and are equally blessed all throughout the year of 2008!